International break is welcomed by Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy
PUBLISHED: 09:37 07 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:37 07 October 2014
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy may have led his on-form team to a seven-game unbeaten run, but the Blues boss is looking forward to giving his players a rest during the international break.
The play-off chasing Blues earned a point from a breathless 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest on Sunday and don’t play again now until Blackburn visit Portman Road a week on Saturday.
As a result, Town’s squad have been given an extended break and will not return to training until next Monday.
That is with the exceptions of international trio Christophe Berra (Scotland), Daryl Murphy (Republic of Ireland) and Jonathan Williams (Wales) who will be hoping to play some part in their nations’ latest attempts to qualify for Euro 2016.
For others, such as Luke Hyam, withdrawn early at the City Ground on Sunday, and Paul Anderson (hamstring), the break will give them the opportunity to be fighting-fit for Rovers’ visit on October 18.
Injuries are the last thing McCarthy needs, the Blues boss having utilised such a small pool of players this season, a statistic that makes Ipswich’s current run and sixth-place position all the more remarkable.
“I am absolutely delighted (with the forthcoming international break),” said McCarthy.
“It gives the lads a break. We have a squad of about 23 but we have only ever been working on a squad of 20 (fit players), and they have all put a shift in, so it gives the lads a chance to have a break and rest their legs.”
The break-neck speed of the Championship clearly caught up with Williams on Sunday, although instead of resting, his inclusion in the Wales squad may see him given more valuable game time, against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cyprus.
“He (Williams) just ran out of gas,” explained McCarthy, who has the youngster on a three-month loan from Crystal Palace.
“Let me tell you, that game (at Forest) was played at one hell of a pace, it was physical, tough and demanding.
“When you come from being a substitute (at Palace), I don’t care who you are, you are going to get cramp and get tired. That game was played at a great pace by both teams.”
Michail Antonio’s 94th-minute leveller broke Town hearts on Sunday but McCarthy is enjoying, as much as ever, being in the thick of it.
“You certainly don’t want to lose it at that stage and it is difficult to do much more than defend when they are putting balls in the box and pushing players up,” said the Blues boss.
“It’s nerve-racking but it keeps the ticker going, I have a health check every six months, and I’m cool.”